Friday, March 19, 2010

A Communist Tract ...

There is a thing called rational discussion.
There is a place in rational discussion for respectful disagreement that furthers the discussion.
And there is ALWAYS a place for oppostion that asks the tough questions in the face of a dominant idea, theology or notion.

BUT, sometimes rational, respectful and intelligent discussion is not only lacking, it is completely lacking. And an example of this has been going on in the United States where hyper-conservative Glenn Beck is hammering hard on Jim Wallis, and on the inclusion of Social Justice in the life and ministry of Churches south of the border.

According to Beck's counsel, we are to run from churches that dare to mention social justice or economic justice, for in his "open-minded" (my tongue is firmly in my cheek here) opinion, these are the buzz words of Communists and Nazis ... This is so far beyond a true and unapologetic WTF??? that I am truly and utterly speechless ...

I first encountered (or noticed) this issue in last night when I noticed a tweet update on Facebook from Aaron from Alma's Soulfood, that mentioned the attack by Glenn Beck on Jim Wallis ... I went looking and had to laugh at the silliness of Beck's contention ...

Then today I started to find more and more material on line supporting Beck ... it would seem the tinfoil crowd have had a busy night sitting up typing at their computers through the wee hours ...

Fortunately though, I have found this afternoon some calm and rational voices that manage to put Mr. Beck's contention in its place, and that remind us ALL that a call to Social Justice, is a call that has resounded through the community of faith since Amos and his Prophetic kin came in out of the wilderness speaking on behalf of the God Yahweh who THUNDERED FOR JUSTICE!!!

I've been struggling to come up with a Sermon for this Sunday, and now, with the swirl of ideas supporting Wallis and the modern Social Justice movement (which is also central to my Masters Thesis which is currently sitting at 39 pages of text !!) whirling through my thinking - I see a direct connection with the story of Jesus having his feet anointed by Mary ... Jesus' response to Judas about the poor is not a call to inaction, but rather is a reminder that the POOR are always among us, and we best not forget them ...

For now though, I have gone back and re-acquainted myself with the writings of Rabbi Heschel, who returned to the ancient scrolls to call the WORLD to a faith focused on Social Justice ... the teachings of Rabbi Heschel undergird the action oriented faith of people from Martin Luther King through to Jim Wallis ... and Heschel is merely echoing the timeless teachings of guys with names like Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah ... teachings that have called us for millenia to remember the poor and to act with justice and care.

Rabbi Heschel's landmark book The Prophets is ANYTHING but a communist tract.

Yet, for some reason voices persist that claim such an orientation of faith is not consistent with the Gospel ... Not sure what scripture someone like Beck is reading, but when I open my Bible (two of them: New Revised Standard Translation and a New Jerusalem Bible) I hear the Gospel calling us to act on our faith by caring for the widows and orphans, and by not only remembering the poor, but by doing something to show our care and compassion through our faithful action.

Might be me, but I think Beck is just plain crazy ... unfortunately, his is a voice that some actually (and foolishly) take seriously. THANKFULLY there are voices out there speaking out against Beck and his folly ...

For some of the voices speaking out against Beck and his misguided rants check out the links below:

Jim Wallis loves his enemies by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Glenn Beck and Social Justice from the blog - Philosophy Over Coffee

Jim Wallis' reply on The Huffington Post

I guess this just goes to show the truth of Gandhi's contention that "First they laugh at you. Then they ignore you. Then they fight you. THEN YOU WIN !!!"

We should ALL be sending notes of thanks to Mr Beck ... he's thrown the gauntlet and in the process has announced that Mr Wallis and those of us supportive of Social Justice are the winners before the fight has even begun !!


Anonymous said...

Glenn Beck is so irrational that it would be easy to write him off as deranged; but he's probably one of the most dangerous men in America. He has a huge following of Fox News' aficionados, who don't question any of the garbage that he spouts forth. He and his ilk, among other things which desecrate the intentions of the Constitution, will do every thing they can to deny health care for Americans, and to support the murder of many innocent citizens by blocking any meaningful gun control. All in the bastardization of the meaning of "Freedom".

You should watch Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" every day (last night -- March 18 -- was particularly devoted to Glenn Beck) to see Fox News exposed for what they really are -- a mouthpiece for the NRA, the Republican Party, and any semblance of rationality in political debate.


Carolyn said...

AMEN! I have always found it incomprehensible the attempt to uncouple social justice from matters of faith. thanks for this one!